May 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

What’s Your Style?

Whether just starting to look for a home, remodeling, or adding on, knowing the style of your ideal or existing house can be a tremendous help. (You’ll also gain a greater appreciation of the way your house was designed and built.)

There are many different types of house styles. Some people know exactly what their ideal style would be, others are clueless.

Cape Cod – Cape Cods are named after the area in Massachusetts where they were common, and are an older design that offered good value for adequate living space. A popular style for homes built in the 1930s, Capes are usually one or one and a half story homes that feature a steep roof line with side gables and a small overhang. They are typically covered in clapboard or shingles and are symmetrical in appearance with a central door, multi-paned, double-hung windows, shutters, and a formal, center-hall floor plan. They often feature dormer windows for added light and space. Full bathrooms, ones that include a shower or bathtub as well as the toilet and sink, are often found on the main floor.

Colonial – The Colonial home is one of the most popular styles of home in the United States, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Originating in the early 1800s they offer both simplicity and efficiency. Colonial homes usually have two or three stories and usually an equal amount of living space on each level. Bedrooms are normally upstairs, which is one of the reasons it is so popular. Full bathrooms are usually upstairs.

Center Hall Colonial – A Colonial with centrally placed front door. Because this house is symmetrical in design, usually there are two windows on either side of the door that are framed with matching shutters. The main entry of this house opens into a center hall with a stairway. Once inside you will usually find a living room to one side of the stairway and a dining room on the opposite side.

Side Hall Colonial – A Colonial house that usually has the front door to one side of the house, and/or the hallway through the house to one side of the house and the stairs to the upper floor also to one side of the house.

Tudor – The Tudor house takes its name from the Tudor monarchs of England, who reigned from 1485 to 1603. A result of Gothic architecture, Tudor estates were smaller and more subtly detailed, with major differences being the windows, chimneys, and timber framing. Gables with dramatic, sloping roof lines are a hallmark of the Tudor home. The exterior is made of brick, stucco or stone. Large chimneys, arched entryways, and casement window groupings are typical. Window panes may have a diamond pattern as well. Big stone or brick fireplaces are usually a focal point in family and living rooms.

Ranch – First built in the 1920s, a Ranch home is a one-story house with a low pitched roof and large windows. Ranch-style houses peaked in popularity by the 1960s, when middle-class families were settling into suburban areas. The style of home provided space needed for growing families to live comfortably. Ranch-style houses typically have a simple, open floor plan. Most feature a family room and a formal living room. A vaulted ceiling is common in the formal living room. A sliding door traditionally leads out to the patio. This works well for casual entertaining and living. Rooms are large and flow freely into each other. This type of home is often popular and beneficial to older homeowners because they have convenient, attached garages, and, typically, do not have stairs.

Split-Level – A Split Level, popular in the 1950s and 1960s, is a style of house in which the floor levels are staggered, so that the “main”level of the house, usually where the front entry is, is halfway between the upper and lower floors. The main level typically contains common living areas: living room, dining room, kitchen, and maybe a family room. There are typically two short sets of stairs, one running upward to a bedroom level, and one going downward toward a basement area. The basement level is most likely finished off, and often contains additional living areas and most likely a laundry area. Also, it typically has an entrance to the garage, and is usually level with the driveway. Beneath the main level (downward from the basement level) could be a crawl space, or sometimes additional basement space.

Tri-Level Split – Additional bedrooms are built over the living space.

Sugar Maple Split – The front door is on ground level with the garage and den. The main living area is up one level and the bedrooms up another level.

Bi Level – A Bi-Level home is a two level home. In these homes you usually walk up a small set of steps to get to the front door. Once inside the front door you are on a “landing” between the first and second floors. From here you can go up or down. The upstairs rooms are generally the living room, dining room, kitchen, and most bedrooms. The downstairs rooms are generally the family room and any possible additional bedrooms. Most Bi-Levels have a one or two car garage that is under the upper level and accessed via the lower level. These homes do not have basements.

New Construction – A home that hasn’t been occupied, where the seller is typically a builder or an owner that works with a builder to finish a house. Usually a Colonial but can include any and all styles, aspects, and finishes that a person could want in a house.

By Nina Eizikovitz, Links Residential

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